After a 6-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday and a skills competition on Saturday, the Anaheim Ducks took to the ice on Sunday to face their Pacific division rivals, the San Jose Sharks, who made their first appearance at the Honda Center in the 2010-11 regular season.
On top of their huge win of Columbus, the Ducks came into this match up having won four of their last five games, ranking second in the Pacific division and sixth in the Western conference. The Sharks, however, previously a perennial powerhouse in the Pacific division, came into a game with a three-game losing streak and currently placed out of playoff contention.
Bobby Ryan, who is currently playing center in place of the injured Ryan Getzlaf, nailed a beautifully setup opportunity into the net of Antti Niemi for the games only goal.
“I think when a guy like Getzy goes down, people got to step up,” Ryan said. “I’ve been asked to do a different role and play center and I found it nice, obviously.”
Despite outshooting the Ducks in every period for a total of 37-28, the Sharks just couldn’t seem to find the net, but that was in large part due to Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller. Hiller, the game’s first star, has now accumulated back-to-back shutouts and has stopped 64 shots in his last two games.
“Like we’ve all said so many times, he’s a rock back there for us,” Ryan said about his fellow goaltender. “We certainly appreciate it. Another shutout is well deserving for him.”
It does not escape Hiller that the list of All-Stars — taking place on January 30th in Raleigh — will be announced on Tuesday.
“It would be a big honor and something I’ve dreamed of, “ he proclaimed. “I just try to get it done on the ice and hope someone sees it.”
Along with his teammates, his coach certainly sees it as well.
“He seems to be on top of his game right now,” said head coach Randy Carlyle. “ The pucks are hitting him even when he doesn’t see them. When there is a screen, he is in good position. He is more active in the net and he is to be commended.”
As a team, the Ducks are hoping to be well represented on the All-Star list on Tuesday and hope to close out their home stand on a high note on Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues.